By: randosteve|Posted on: December 7, 2010|Posted in: Gear, Trip Planning | 17 comments
Historically here in the Tetons, winter closures to protect wildlife habitat in Grand Teton National Park have started on December 15th. Area closures around and near the town of Jackson, mainly Forest Service land, start on December 1st. Advocates like the Jackson Hole Conservation Alliance put out ads on the radio and in newspapers (do people still read those?) urging us to “don’t poach the powder” and organizations like the Teton Bighorn Sheep Project do their best to make some of these facts known. As a skier in Jackson Hole and the Tetons, I do my best to abide by all the winter closures and other restrictions that big brother might put upon me and I urge others to do the same.

The poach.

Unbeknownst to me however, I recently learned that some of the park closures, mainly to protect bighorn sheep, have now also been bumped up to the earlier, December 1st date. Unfortunately though, it appears as there has been some miscommunication along the chain of command within the parks service and many of the maps and information that has been available to the public still show the Dec 15th date as when areas like Prospector, Mount Hunt and Static Peak are closed.

nps-pre-2010-winter-closuresSince all of these mountains have nice ski terrain on them, I and many others, often try to get some descents on them before and after the closure (April 1st). And since this year we have had over 150" of snow so far and are currently running with a 60" base, things are prime and above average for early season skiing. Sooooo, after consulting the maps on the NPS website (see thumbnail) and having a friend call the visitor center, both stating the closure as beginning on December 15th, myself and three others skied Static Peak over the weekend. I mean why not...right?

jh-conservation-alliance-2010-winter-closuresIt didn't take long for word to get out that we had skied Static Peak and I was soon informed about the new closure dates via text mesasge, email and Facebook, which I now know can be found on the Jackson Hole Conservation Alliance and the Teton Bighorn Sheep Project websites (see thumbnail). Unfortunately, these websites are nowhere to be found when you type "GTNP Winter Closures" into Google, which my guess is probably how most people research this kind of information. Surprisingly (or not surprisingly?), a TetonAT post, "Know Your Range...GTNP Winter Closures", comes up pretty high on the page and I have updated the dates to prevent any confusion. Remember now...don't poach the powder and please respect the closures.